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Plants & fungi

Auriculas - a most beguiling plant now on sale at Kew Gardens

Auricula in plant pot on sale at Kew
Thu, 2013-05-02 00:00

Once a pastime of the elite in Elizabethan England, the growing and collecting of auriculas now extends to all corners of society. The passion for this stunning plant spread amongst horticulturalists during the 18th and 19th centuries, eventually resulting in the creation of the National Auricula Society in 1872, and enjoyed a long Victorian heyday.

Orchid community agree name changes in Oncidium

Oncidium fuscatum
Wed, 2013-04-03 14:28

The monumental Genera Orchidacearum series depends on extensive analyses of DNA sequence data to provide guidance about how to classify orchids in an appropriate manner. A recent paper in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society is a good example of the scale and impact of such studies.

Framework for palm biogeography

Bismarkia nobilis
Tue, 2013-03-26 17:11

A series of papers in scientific journals has established a general framework for the biogeographical evolution of palms.

Eggplant names cracked

Solanum insanum
Tue, 2013-03-26 17:06

Taxonomists provide plant names to plant breeders and genebank curators. This service is critical for identifying wild relatives of cultivated plants and essential for breeding new food crops. Species naming is often confusing in crop wild relatives, and aubergines (eggplants) are worse than most.

Updating classifications to reflect monophyly

Pennisetum advena
Thu, 2013-03-07 00:00

Cenchrus advena (Wipff & Veldkamp) Morrone, one of the 1,179 grass species that have changed their name in the move towards a phylogenetic classification. The species was called Pennisetum advena Wipff & Veldkamp in traditional systems of grass classification.